I'm a guest of honor this weekend at the Dallas's Fencon this weekend, and I've just learned that some of the other speakers won't be able to talk, thanks to the government shutdown. They're government space scientists, and the 143-year-old Antideficiency Act makes it a crime (punishable by fines and imprisonment) for government employees to volunteer to do their own jobs (which, in their cases, includes talking about science to the public). The law dates back to the Lincoln administration, and was aimed at stopping fraudsters who did "government" business, then presented a bill for services that hadn't been contracted but had nevertheless been performed -- a kind of Civil War era version of red-light windscreen squeegeeing.
Despite Trump’s denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble — which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we’ll be burning all of them with impunity — is about to pop.
South American polka dot tree frogs are pretty cool, but Julián Faivovich and Carlos Taboada found out they are even cooler when an ultraviolet flashlight is trained on them. They fluoresce. Many animals can see beyond the spectrum visible to humans, and these frogs adapted with this trait. From the abstract: Fluorescence, the absorption of […]
The Lightning port has thus far resisted the cruel fate that befell the headphone jack, and despite rumors that it may be disappearing come iPhone 8, for the present and foreseeable future, Lightning cables are a hot commodity for iPhone users. As such, we must make do in this strange time in which long, glorified […]
All the filters in the world won’t save your smartphone pics from a shaky hand. To really step up your mobile photography game, you’ll need some kind of mount to hold it steady. You could buy a smartphone attachment for a conventional camera tripod, but who wants to carry that kind of gear everywhere they […]
The forced transition from analog to digital TV signals was probably met with relative indifference from people with Netflix subscriptions and the “I don’t even own a TV” snoots. But anyone living in the vast swaths of the country that don’t have guaranteed high-speed internet, broadcast TV is a perfectly valid (and 100% free) way […]